September 18, 2004


Reuters is upset that a Canadian newspaper chain is recklessly improving its copy:

One of the world's leading news agencies, Reuters, said CanWest newspapers have been altering words and phrases in stories dealing with the war in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Reuters told CBC News it would complain to CanWest about the issue.

The global managing editor for Reuters, David Schlesinger, called such changes unacceptable.

As an example, Schlesinger cited a recent Reuters story, in which the original copy read: "...the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which has been involved in a four-year-old revolt against Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank."

In the National Post version of the story, printed Tuesday, it became: "...the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a terrorist group that has been involved in a four-year-old campaign of violence against Israel."

You can see why Reuters would be annoyed. Their reputation is at stake.

UPDATE. Ken Summers locates another example of accurate reporting.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 18, 2004 08:55 PM

The Stumbler reported it thus:

"...the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades resistance fighters, which have been involved in an heroic four-year-old uprising against Zionist invasion of Gaza and the West Bank Palestinian homelands."

Posted by: Trojan at September 18, 2004 at 09:01 PM

Ha! Is this Doublespeak in reverse?

Posted by: The Real JeffS at September 19, 2004 at 03:14 AM

Can't the original writer be fired for misleading writing?

In any case, surely copy is edited regularly to make it fit.

"In an interview, Ottawa Citizen editor Scott Anderson conceded fighters in Fallujah were not terrorists but said CanWest has a policy of renaming some groups as terrorists. "

"Riad Saloojee, the head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada, says the organization wants Canadian press watchdogs to investigate CanWest. "

Is this him caving into pressure or does Scott Anderson really think they are freedom fighters in Fallujah?

Next we will be forced to call the terrorists 'party poopers'

Posted by: dawn at September 19, 2004 at 03:45 AM

Reuters understands one thing, careful use of words can manipulate public opinion and undermine the war on terror.

Controlling the wires and the word usage has obviously worked for them so far in spreading bush hatred around the world.

Because certainly the media in its various aspects has achieved that. Its very extreme.

I doubt many bush haters have gone to the site and read the speeches for themselves, and reached that conclusion independently.

Posted by: dawn at September 19, 2004 at 04:22 AM

I guess the goose doesn't like gander-sauce.

Posted by: Rebecca at September 19, 2004 at 05:01 AM

Sorry - aren't the Al-Aksa martyrs Brigades officially blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by every major western country?
I guess that's not enough for Reuters to consider them terrorists.

Posted by: David Frankfurter at September 19, 2004 at 09:11 AM

Does the BBC refer to the IRA as the "opposition" or "freedom fightes" or "insurgents"? My guess is no.

Posted by: PJ at September 19, 2004 at 01:14 PM

"ken summers"

'twas emily, kind sir

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at September 19, 2004 at 02:30 PM

PJ :
No, they're "militants" or "dissidants".

Unless they massacre lots of people. Then they're "paramilitaries".
Just look at their on-line article on the Provisional IRA.

Posted by: Alan E Brain at September 19, 2004 at 02:35 PM